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So, you've been thinking and mulling and contemplating about Christmas gift ideas for WEEKS or months, but now it's down to the wire, right? ::sigh::
This happens to me pretty much every. single. year., so this year I thought I'd compile a list of gifts that can be purchased or made totally last minute and still present an appreciated, meaningful gift.
So make a fresh batch of eggnog or brew some coffee, then curl up to peruse this list and finish up your shopping stress-free.
May your Christmas celebration be filled with family, friends, food, and an overflowing abundance of joy and grace – even more than gifts.
Last-Minute Christmas Gift Ideas
For your spouse:
1. Melt: Online relaxation massage videos for couples – this video series is a TOTAL hit with men and women alike and I honestly can't rave about it enough! The videos are classy, G-rated, and help you both connect AND properly work out the knots in your spouses' shoulders.
2. Experiences. How about a hot air balloon ride together? Or dance lessons? Or concert tickets? If you're not sure about dates, reserve your space now as a gift and book the date after you've presented the gift and compared calendars. (Obviously, event tickets are more date-specific!)
3. Magazine subscriptions. This is a great last-minute gift if you choose a magazine that:
- deals with a subject that absolutely makes your spouse light-up, OR
- that's über-practical for your spouse, OR
- that feeds your spouse's mind or soul.
Find inspiration by visiting Amazon.com magazine subscriptions (although browsing magazine selections there is somewhat cumbersome) or by googling “magazine [your spouse's interest].”
4. Subscription-in-the-mail. There are really lovely goodies that can be delivered right to your doorstep month after month, such as a subscription to a Wine of the Month Club at a local winery or the Just the Right Book service that delivers a new book each month based on your gift recipient's interests. These days there seem to be subscriptions for everything from coffee to shaving supplies, so options abound here!
5. A coloring book for adults. These are all the rage right now because they truly DO help de-stress. My favorites are the ones with houses and pieces of art, but others prefer shapes and mandalas. There are suddenly so many options! Browse a wide selection at Amazon.com or find ones you can instantly download.
6. A subscription to Real Plans. This super-flexible meal planning service takes the stress out of getting real food on the table, even while life is busy and frantic, so if your spouse regularly feels overwhelmed or flustered with getting healthy meals on the table night after night, give the gift of a month, a quarter, or a year.
For your children or grandchildren:
1. Subscription Boxes. These are one of the BEST gifts of all time, truly truly truly!
Whether you want to fuel your child’s love of discovery with science boxes, inspire their creativity with an art box, or engage them in the larger world with geography-based activities, subscription services that send a box once a month with project supplies are a FANTASTIC gift that keeps on giving.
Here are a few I highly recommend:
- Koala Crate (science, art, and the joy of discovery)
- Kiwi Crate (science, art, and building creative confidence)
- Green Kids Crafts (science)
- Little Passports (geography & culture)
And whether you receive a box in time to put under the tree or not, you can certainly use the printable gift announcement below or put together a small box of miscellaneous supplies (balloons, craft sticks, tape, etc) to create and discover until the first box arrives.
2. Memberships. Purchase a membership at a local children's museum, art museum, aquarium, zoo, or other organization you know both you and your child would love to visit together on multiple visits. Often, these organizations will provide a printable gift announcement, but if not, feel free to use the printable one below.
3. Magazine Subscriptions. Kids LOVE to get mail and magazines are a great way to help them explore the world, cultures, and language. Here are a few of our all-time favorites:
- Babybug (joyful, brightly illustrated stories and poems)
- Ladybug (stories, poems, art, and adventure)
- Click (science, art & nature)
- Ranger Rick Jr. (animal facts & games for very early readers or pre-readers)
- Spider (engaging stories for young readers)
- Ask (art & science for kids who love to ask “why”!)
- National Geographic for Kids
- Cricket (high-quality fiction and nonfiction, both classic & contemporary)
- Muse (science, history & the arts)
- Dig (archaeology & history)
- Faces (geography & culture)
- Cobblestone (American history)
- Ranger Rick (animal facts & games)
For co-workers, friends, teachers, and anyone you want to say “I appreciate you!”:
Quick DIY gifts that can be put together in minutes:
- Homemade Mulling Spices
- Hot Chocolate Mix with Homemade Mini-Marshmallows (skip the marshmallows if you're in a hurry!)
- Homemade Spices Mixes
- Fig Newton Butter
- A DIY Spa & Pampering Gift Set – include quick items, like bath salts, foot scrubs, and homemade tea bags filled with your favorite tea.
Also, there are a number of lovely ideas in this post, including DIY tea blends, soup mixes, etc.: Real Food Gift Ideas to Bless Your Friends & Neighbors.
Make a difference in the world on behalf of your gift recipient by making a donation to a local or national charity that reflects their values and interests. Here are just a FEW ideas:
- Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund
- Feeding America Food Bank Network (even better, donate to the food bank that’s local in your area!)
- Compassion International
- World Vision
- Partners International
- Samaritan’s Purse
Online & Audio Courses:
- Learn Your Letters/Learn to Serve – lovely for any parent with young children
- How to Ferment Anything
- Traditional Cooking School Membership – The Traditional Cooking School by GNOWFGLINS (“God’s natural, organic, whole foods, grown locally, in season”) adds new videos, classes, and e-books regularly, and you have access to ALL of them as long as you’re a member!
- Rouxbe Online Cooking School
- The Great Courses – there are hundreds of courses from which to choose!
And if you're still stuck, there are always gift certificates. Gift certificates are not a thoughtless gift, but allow the recipient choose something you know they would LOVE!
Gift certificates to a local bookstore are almost always a great idea – and of course, there's Amazon.com, where they can find pretty much anything. Click here to go directly to the gift card page at Amazon (this will likely automatically redirect you to the Amazon within your country if you're outside of the US), where you choose and design your gift card in just a few clicks.
How to Wrap Your Last-Minute Gifts
Most gifts that are either digital or non-immediate – like a magazine subscription – are wonderful gifts, but they're somewhat difficult to wrap and place under the tree. 🙂
No worries! Here's both a printable grab-and-go gift announcement (see below) AND a few other ideas for giving your gift.
1. Choose a small item that iconically represents your gift.
- If you've given a subscription to receive a monthly shipment of coffee, find a classy mug and place your gift announcement in it.
- If you're giving a gift certificate to a kitchenwares shop, tie the gift announcement to a unique whisk or wooden spoon.
- If you've given a membership to the aquarium, attach your gift tag to a fish keychain.
- If your gift is a day at the zoo with your preschool-aged grandchild, give a stuffed giraffe with the gift announcement around its neck.
2. If you're reading this on Christmas Eve and need to wrap your gift FAST, here's a simple, fun method to make your gift fun (see the photo above to see what these little “Christmas cracker” gifts look like when they're finished):
Write your gift description on a piece of stationary or print out the printable gift card below, then fold it tidily. If it's a full-sheet of paper, fold the paper in thirds like a letter, then roll it up.
Now, you'll need a toilet paper tube, some wrapping paper (or fabric or even newsprint), and two pieces of ribbon or twine.
Place your folded or rolled up gift description inside the tube, then cut a piece of wrapping paper with at least three inches of overhang on each end of the tube. Roll up the tube in the wrapping paper, then twist the ends like a piece of candy and tie them shut with the ribbon.
Now you've got your own little homemade Christmas cracker as a gift package! It won't pop when it's opened, but it's delightful and decorative. 🙂
3. Write a description of your gift and place it in a beautiful, fillable ornament, sort of like this colorful wooden one. You can make your own last-minute by cutting out two identical pieces of cardboard or cardstock, decorating them, then glue the edges together, placing the paper with your gift written on it sandwiched in between. Be sure to also glue a loop of ribbon or twine at the top so you can hang it on the tree.
4. Write it on the back of a photo of you with the gift recipient. If you've given a gift of an event or experience you'll do together, find a photo of you with the gift recipient and use it as the gift tag. Either laminate the photo or put it in a beautiful frame with a sticky note on the front with instructions to look inside.
Printable Gift Announcements
When you give a gift that's either going to arrive later (like a magazine) or a digital gift (like an e-book or e-course), you likely still want a beautiful way to tell them the details of the gift. Thus, here are two simple, ink-friendly gift announcements.
To use them, merely fold them into thirds like a letter OR cut them as desired.
To print or download, simply click on the image to start the download or open it in your browser.